Stunt man falling off building


Happy new year all.

last year in May Axel made a tutorial about how to do  stunt effects.

in that tutorial he shows how to make your actor fall off a building and hit with a convincing thud (without killing him;- ) . In another tutorial (sky replacement ) he shows that the actor is actually on a stepladder.

 my question is, how did you get him to fall off the ladder, and

1. not kill him 

2. film/mask it

it appears in the final product that he fell in front of the building that he was never even on! 



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    This question is arguably directed at Film Riot/Triune Films since no one from Hitfilm was on set 9as far as I know)

    How did he fall without killing him?

    Chances are they got a trained stunt guy for that one shot. He would have just fallen off the ladder. There's a HUGE difference between falling off a 5-foot ladder vs a 20 foot building. There would have been as many pads below him as they could get to cushion the fall.

    Compositing? They probably used a luminance key to extract the dark figure from a bright sky. After that, a little bit of masking tool work.

  • Keep in mind that you might have the option to use a "digital double".  If you can obtain a 3D model to represent your character you can throw that sucker off a 20 story building as many times as you want.  And with multiple camera angles.

    Take a look at this thread.

    @Rogyrue is experimenting with iClone models, extracting Alembic motion and importing directly into HF.   I could see the potential for filming your actor right up to the point where he jumps/falls and cut to a different angle of the digi-double taking the dive.

  • edited January 9

     Thanks Triem 

    I figured it was something like that. 

    i suppose after all that you only see him start to topple over, so they were probably able to key out most of the background. 

    i am figuring how do something  like this myself and, maybe staged in the mountains, and i was wondering if it required Mocha masking tools. i do not have Pro (yet) and i was hoping i could do it all  in Experess.


    sorry Stargazer. for some reason i didn't see your comment until after i posted mine. i only have Express so far.

  • @LiamMcM1 ;  Also, to state the obvious, since you're in Express you could always film multiple angles  of the start of the fall with a green screen and use a clean plate of the location where he's supposed to be falling from. Just another option...

  • tddavis  I thought about that, but i was hoping to get my as lighting as natural as possible.

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator
    edited January 9

    @LiamMcM1 As @tddavis is getting to you can also use the "digi-double" approach but shooting your actor over green screen.  Extracting (masking) him out and comping over a clean plate.  Then use his motion, keyframe some additional movement by Transforming and slight Rotation along with some motion blur.   As long as your cut from live action to the composite is very brief, you could pull that off.  You just have to be creative about the camera angles and your edit.

    Then there is this:

    Honestly though, the FilmRiot clip is pretty much next level.  So I'd experiment with using what you have at hand and the amazing software that is HitFilm first.


  • @LiamMcM1 ;  Sorry, my fault I didn't say this, but you could set up the green screen outdoors when you're filming the actor on top of whatever and shoot with the same lighting.  True, you'll have to be a little creative here to avoid shadows and such on the screen but diffuse drapes (white cotton sheets) you can get the same color temp of the light with less shadows.  Or shoot on an overcast day so there are no hard shadows.  But it will be more work for you.  The other suggestions would work better for you.

  • edited January 9

    In Axel's video with the stuntman hitting the ground, there wasn't really a need for the actor to fall down at all. As Axel froze one frame to do most of the motion and the actor just flopped a bit when he was on the ground, he could have been laying there the whole time and just done a little 'spasm' to simulate hitting the ground. No need for anyone to risk hurting themselves if a stuntman is not available. 

    Film Riot also did a version and note that even though the Stuntwoman threw herself backwards onto the ground, if you single step through the fall (< and >  keys in YouTube ) the frames used were of her already on the ground, so again: no real need to do more than 'spasm' while lying down. Stunt people... such shows offs. :D

  • edited January 9

    The other day I watched a piece from the Film Riot archives (from six years ago) that covered how to do high falls in a single shot.  This fits in with the recommendation from @tddavis to shoot on a greenscreen outside.  And — no surprise — they used a ladder here, too:


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @jsbarrett ah, the first Film Riot I ever saw... 

  • @Triem23 ; Me too. And definitive fun to watch. Their sort of humor is weird and funny.

  • @Triem23 Same here... Kinda sad that the shirts on his arms disappear when Josh hits the ground ;)

  • edited January 13

    Sorry i don't think i stated my question properly. 

    i understood about the guy hitting the ground. it was that there only seemed to be  the second half the "stunt" tutorial. 

     i went and reviewed my original post and see that it doesn't sound right

  • edited January 14

    What sort of tutorial do you need to point a camera at someone falling off a ladder? Make sure the mat he lands on is thick enough to not hurt the actor. 

    The FilmRiot videos cover that bit and more, Axel's Cowboy Sky replacement video covers placing the actor on the roof.

  • edited January 17

    Palacono  i don't think you understand me . i did not mean that i don't know how to film a video of someone falling onto a pad. i was only saying that they didn't show the compositing side of the first scene in the Stunt tutorial.  thanks to the discussion i understand what they must have done. perhaps my question  "not kill him " was i bit silly.  sorry i am somewhat new to Hitfilm and am new on the forum. 

  • edited January 17

    Oh, the actual fall in front of the building? Same as the sky replacement method.

    Once you have the actor falling against an empty sky - you cut him out with the Luminance Key -  just place the image of the building and the new sky behind him instead of the building in front of him and the sky behind. It's just a reordering of the layers from the sky replacement.

    You could see how it could work just using the sky replacement tutorial clips.

  • @LiamMcM1,

    If you watch the Film Riot Josh Jumps off the Roof Stunt, go to 4:00. They use a chromakey and Josh jumps off a small box  on to a thick squishy mat.  They then explain how they composited the falling footage.  The Ladder is only used for camera angles.   There was never any danger to the actor.

  • Thanks  Palacono.

    Got it now. I had figured out the stuff actually covered in the stunt tutorial before i started the thread. I was going to include my attempt but i can't figure out how to do it. 

  •  Just post the link from YouTube, or wherever you want to host it, directly in the text. The forum software will replace that with the video when you refresh the page after you post your reply.

  • okay! (I am going to be asking a question related to the question above) How in the world do you do, the person being throw around, in the video below? Because I want to do it! And this guy does it a lot in his videos.



  • edited May 19

    Thanks  Palacono.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @HIS_Films I assume you mean the Hulk punch, because everything else was acting. 

    That one looks like he took an action figure, hung it on a string in front of a green screen and spun it. Or he used a 3D model. Key, position in frame, animate position and scale. 

    There's no arm/leg motion in the flying guy, which is why I think action figure--which also fits the story. 

    Also doa YouTube search for Epictorial Dragon Punch. That will get you an After Effects tutorial from Wren the Reaper that you'll find helpful. 

  • @Triem23 thank you so much!!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @HIS_Films of course Film Riot. They've done everything.

  • Yea, I have seen that, thanks!!


Sign in to comment

Leave a Comment